That whooshing sound in the corporate travel sector's ear ...
Hidden in a characteristically nondescript story in The New York Times this past weekend — I mean, can a headline be more anodyne 10 months into the pandemic? — is a quote that will shake the multi-billion dollar business travel market out its stupor and along with it the hopes of big bounce back.
Or it should.
From the NYT story:
As executives conduct more business remotely, going back to in-person meetings and pitches seems less urgent. Natarajan Chandrasekaran, the chairman of Indian conglomerate Tata Sons, said in an interview with The New York Times that he used to fly from India to the United States to pitch a $50,000 project. But recently, he said, his firm’s consultancy business closed $2 billion worth of deals in “five or six Zoom calls.”
You can read a million stories about the future of business travel in these last 10 months — dozens and dozens by us at Skift — and it wouldn’t have the impact this one quote from a top executive at a giant multi-national conglomerate whose whole business is ultra-long haul travel around the world to close deals and execute on them, will have.
This isn’t exactly a victimless crime period, there are consequences to the time we are going through and continue to for months to come. The answer, as always, is always in the middle and the middle is billions less than what it was before. And those legacy billions will likely shifted elsewhere as we have seen time and time again in digital disruption in industries.
I could write about 10,000 words below this on counter quotes and analysis, but no need. There you have it.